According to a new study, suicide risks for past and present military is not associated with deployments or exposure to trauma during combat. Instead researchers found that military members who are diagnosed with depression, and other mental disorders are more vulnerable to taking their own lives.
Suicide cases of 83 military members were analyzed by researchers from 2001-2008. The results indicated that most of the suicide cases did not appear to be caused by events (seeing someone get killed, visually experiencing graphic natures of war, and other traumas that can affect military when they are in active service of combat.
However, study leader Dr. Edward Boyko did state to Reuters Health that:
“It was suspected of course that the stresses of combat exposure would lead to bad outcomes such as suicide. We suspected that there would be an association between combat and suicide, given that there’s been a reported increase in suicide rates.”
The study involved more than 151,560 military members and retired veterans, from the 7-year time span that the research was conducted- 646 military members had died total, with 83 deaths being a result of suicide.
Michael Anestis, a clinical psychologist that specializes in the study of suicides among military members made this remark in liey of the findings to Reuters Health,
“They’re saying that the risk factors in soldiers are not that dissimilar to the risk factors in civilians. These findings don’t mean experiencing combat doesn’t have any harmful long-term effects on military personnel – just that how people deal with combat mentally, and their situation and stress level at home, may also be important.”
The suicide cases that occurred had no association or linking with that of deployment details such as where or how long a member of the service was deployed. The same could be said for the likeliness or increased accounts of suicides involving various military personnel that practice a variety of occupations, serve in different branches, and are ranked low-and-high.
BUT, the study did find that the odds of a male military member taking their life is more than 2x likely than a woman military member committing suicide. When deployment history and gender were taken into account, depression was tied to a doubling of the risk of suicide, manic-depressive disorder to a four-fold risk and alcohol-related problems to almost three times the risk of suicide.